Fine Gael Clare Senator, Martin Conway, today (Wednesday) welcomed the AHEAD WAM programme into Leinster House for one for their twice yearly meetings. WAM is a graduate placement programme for people with disabilities, run by AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access & Disability) an organisation of which Senator Conway is a founding member. Today’s meeting was officially opened by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.
“As a founding member of AHEAD, while a student in UCD, I am very proud of its record in making education accessible to all. The WAM programme has successfully placed over 150 graduates with disabilities in work placements over the last seven years. Many of these young people have secured full time employment as a result. There are a number of major Irish companies involved in the programme including Bank of Ireland and Abbot Engineering, as well as numerous government departments including the Houses of the Oireachtas.
“The WAM programme has huge potential for the future. College graduates have a legitimate right to pursue employment in their area of expertise. This is equally true for people with disabilities. WAM has provided graduates with disabilities with a clear pathway to paid, meaningful employment for young graduates.
“I invited the partners involved in the WAM programme into Leinster House today to hold the first of their twice yearly meetings and I was honoured that Minister Richard Bruton took time out of his hectic schedule to officially open the meeting and address the group. The Minister spoke about the Action Plan for Jobs and reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to removing barriers for people with disabilities.
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to welcome the participants to Leinster House and outline the Government’s commitment to people with disabilities, as outlined in the Programme for Government. I spoke about the various actions which the Government is taking in this area including the value for money audit, the mental capacity legislation, the policy of individualised budgeting and the commitment to ratify the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities.
“The event was a resounding success and I sincerely hope that the programme can continue to expand in the future. The need for the programme is further underlined given the current difficult economic environment.”